- Lost Hits of the New Wave
- The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast
- The Cape
- The Following
- Bionic Nostalgia
- True Blood
- Doctor Who
- The Flash
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Agent Carter
- Avengers Assemble
- Age of Ultron
- Legion of Super-Heroes
- Jessica Jones
- Young Justice
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Legends of Tomorrow
- Civil War II
- Luke Cage
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Warning - spoilers ahead. If you have not seen the movie yet, it might be a good idea to wait until you have before reading further. You've been warned.
I can't go any further without mentioning how groundbreaking this movie actually is. There were three official X-Men films, and two Wolverine spin-off films, and then there's X-Men First Class, a film that I loved, and one that effectively rebooted the franchise. The film took place in the early sixties, and other than some of the characters, it was recast younger, and showed the beginnings of the X-Men. Had a sequel been made directly to this movie, I don't think anyone would have been disappointed if they completely ignored the other three X-Men flicks, or even the two Wolverines as well.
Marvel's The Avengers was. Fact, comic book folks know how to do crossovers on film.
Super-Adaptoids programmed using Mystique's shape-changing DNA.
The cast is superb. Professor X and Magento, past and present - Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender - are all superior actors and perfect in this film every moment they are on screen. Hugh Jackman just about is Wolverine at this point. Halle Berry insisted on much higher billing than she deserves, but at least she wasn't awful. Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde and Nicholas Hoult as the Beast are terrific, and I wish Anna Paquin's Rogue hadn't been cut from most of her shots in the flick. Shawn Ashmore's Iceman has as much screen time as Berry's Storm, but is much more charismatic and memorable. I wanted more Iceman, but was meh on Storm.
Flash" TV series on the CW, because this is a character who enjoys his speed and using his powers, sooo refreshing. And again, much like Mystique and Trask, why not more Quicksilver?
And more Quicksilver would have made perfect story sense. At a point when Professor X was powerless, the beast was reluctant, and Wolverine only had bone claws, wouldn't a super speedster be a much needed helping hand? It must be noted, but when the only complaints I have are wanting more of what we got, is it really a complaint?
Be ready, just like the Marvel films, this Fox X-Men flick has an after credits sequence, something The Bride and I have named an 'afterburner.' This one depicts the villain of the next X-Men film - Apocalypse, so wait through the credits, it's good, and will make you tingle with anticipation for the next chapter. I still think First Class is the best of the X-movies, but this one comes close, recommended.
For more of The Bride's and my thoughts on X-Men: Days of Future Past, you can listen to this week's Make Mine Magic Podcast, with our special X-Men episode that you can hear right here.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Flowers in the Attic and it was even a little bit successful, it was pretty much guaranteed they would do a sequel... especially when there's one tailor made as part of the book series it based on. I should note however this was given a green light before Flowers even aired. That's how sure Lifetime was of the source material. So here's Petals on the Wind, which was just as popular as Flowers back in the day, but didn't have a crappy movie version to tarnish it. Let's see how good or bad the Lifetime treatment is.
Just as Flowers artfully used a cover of "Sweet Child o' Mine" to promote it, Petals similarly uses a cover of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight," a song that was actually around when the book came out, and intros the movie almost as if this was a series rather than movies. Is it? "Last time on Flowers in the Attic..." makes me wonder. Not that I would mind a well done TV series...
It begins ten years after Flowers, and the children have been recast. I guess the shooting schedule for the final season of "Mad Men" might interfered possibly for Kiernan Shipka. And while the book picks up immediately after Flowers, the movie is a decade later, necessitating older actors. Chicken or the egg here, I have to wonder what came first - time shift or recasting? Either way, Rose McIver as Cathy is a weak sister to Kiernan Shipka.
The sad news is however that all of the rest of this seems very forced. From Cathy's abusive relationship with Julian to Carrie being bullied at school, and on top of it all is Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn's characters being shoehorned roughly into the story. I had a lot of trouble with Burstyn especially after literally just watching her brilliant comedic turn on "Louie" just before this.
Lifetime has already announced plans to do the next two books in the Dollanganger series by V.C. Andrews, If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday in 2015, but there's been no word about the fifth and final installment, Garden of Shadows, probably because the ads refer to Seeds as the final installment. Interesting.
Monday, May 26, 2014
If you haven't checked out Voluted Tales before, you definitely should, and if you're a writer of short speculative fiction, think seriously about submitting.
My new column, called Nerdful Things, can be found here. This month's article talks about Marvel has changed how we watch movies, and last issue's was about expectations for the new Godzilla film.
And you can check out the current issue of Voluted Tales, for a small subscription fee, right here. Enjoy!
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Of course there's also the attraction of a potential train wreck, and I do love a good train wreck. "The Amazing Race" is more The Bride's wheelhouse than mine but I was digging the mental and relationship breakdown of former "Big Brother" winners Brendon and Rachel. Now that was a train wreck.
However that kind of hot messiness couldn't seem to save "American Idol" this year. I lost interest early in the season when the show refused to highlight the usual freakshow of audition rejects in the cause of positivity. Let's face it, for every Kelly Clarkson, we can list five William Hungs or Ben Haars. That is what makes the show.
I still don't know how Jena made final ten, let alone final two. Every time I saw her perform she was always butchering one song or another. And none if these judges have courage enough to tell the truth. Harry Connick Jr. comes close at times, but what "Idol" really needs is for Simon Cowell to return. It hasn't been the same, or as good, since he left.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
There are of course reasons to remake a movie, even one that was done right the first time. One reason would be to expand the original story, fill in details, complete connections, explain what was left unexplained. Another reason would be to update the film, as in a lot has changed since 1968 and now it's 2014. That means update the style of the filmmaking and storytelling, not just adding cellphones, the internet, and social media.
The other major change that director Agnieszka Holland made was the location move to Paris. This is disappointing as New York is very much a character in the original film. Holland is well known for a completely different kind of movie, the kind that would normally occur in France, but let's face it, this is Rosemary's Baby, and it's a miniseries for prime time American network television. What the hell were they thinking at NBC?
This had the potential to be a refreshing and original take on the story but it fails both due to length and casting, and yes, even location. While the original presented tense subtle creeping horror, this version is boring, underwhelming, and overly and unnecessarily complex - and ultimately disappointing. Give this a pass. Read the book, see the original, hell, see the sequel, but give this 2014 remake a wide berth.
Friday, May 16, 2014
As we open, the clock tower, the temporary Arrowcave, is under attack by Slade's men. A surprise player intervenes to save the day - Lyla, AKA Harbinger. That was unexpected. The good news is that the Mirakuru cure works, so Roy is back to normal, and red masked. Canary has also brought in help - Nyssa and the League of Assassins. Hmmm... the odds are starting to seem a bit more even now.
The ensuing battles go as expected, albeit too quickly in the case of Canary vs. Ravager. I talked last time about how I felt about villains killing villains. It's very dissatisfying. Nyssa's murder of Isabel is a harsh point for Oliver. He has vowed this season not to be a killer, yet those he's allied himself with really know no other way. Thus the episode's title, under these extreme circumstances, can Oliver do the unthinkable?
Dick Giordano), drones are on their way to the city.
As if Oliver didn't have enough to worry about, he takes Felicity to his house so she's safe. He tells her that Slade wanted to hurt him by taking the woman he loves, but Slade took the wrong woman. Yeah. That came out of nowhere, and plunges this formerly one-sided love affair into the show wrecking territory of "Cheers" and "Moonlighting." And sadly, Oliver telling Felicity he loves her significantly triples her chances of not making it through the episode. Or does it?
The finale is almost exactly as one would have predicted. Slade will make Oliver choose once again as he was forced to choose between Sara and Shado on the island. I had always assumed it would be Sara and Laurel on the chopping block. I suppose however, with fan favorite Felicity there with Laurel, it raises the stakes with the viewers. The producers aren't stupid, they know how to grease the wheels to real nail biting suspense.
Beautifully, both fights between Deathstroke and Arrow, in the present and back on Flashback Island, mirror each other. The choreography is executed perfectly. Like the other fight scenes in this episode, except for Ravager, it is played well. In the end, Arrow wins, because he doesn't kill Slade, and leaves him in an ARGUS supermax facility on Flashback Island.
Sara leaves as well with Nyssa, but not before giving her leather jacket to Laurel. After she says it fits, her dad tells her not to get any ideas. Now comics fans are getting ideas, because Dinah Laurel Lance is actually the second Black Canary, so Laurel taking up the mantle does make a bit of sense, and we know Laurel can fight, not like an Assassin of course, but she can fight.
Essentially Quentin is Larry Lance, poor doomed Larry Lance. It fits. He is/was a police detective, he's Dinah Lance's husband, and they're the parents of the current Black Canary. He's Larry Lance, and like poor doomed Gwen Stacy, he's destined to die. And if you add in the rumor that Quentin wasn't supposed to make it through The Undertaking alive at the end of last season, he's really living on borrowed time.
In the comics, Larry dies saving Black Canary from the cosmic star-being Aquarius. It's this tragedy that drives her to leave the Justice Society on Earth-Two and join the Justice League on Earth-One. There she becomes romantically linked to Green Arrow. That's the original story, many reboots and continuities later, it's still basically the same, long story short. Larry Lance is still doomed. I wonder if his TV counterpart Quentin will share his fate? I, for one, hope not.
And speaking of more, we were also treated to a sneak peek at the new Flash TV series at the end of this episode. It was followed the next day by a longer more impressive trailer. To see them both, head on over to Biff Bam Pop! or click right here. See you next time… in a flash!
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
You know me, I am a hardcore Godzilla fan, and earlier this week, thanks to friend Skott Stotland of The Nerd Signal, I got to see an early showing of the new American Godzilla film.
You can read my spoiler-filled review of the movie over at Biff Bam Pop!, click here. I've got a lot to say.
And while you're in the monster mood, please check out Skott Stotland's review of Godzilla here, fellow Biff Bam Pop! staff writer J.P. Fallavollita on Gareth Edwards' Monsters here (and my review of that film as well), and good friend and fellow writer Becca Butcher's rebuttal to my review here.
Monday, May 12, 2014
The GAR! Podcast family has grown by one. The Make Mine Magic Podcast, unlike its sister production, is focused, planned and rehearsed and features myself and The Bride talking about all things Disney.
This week we’re talking about the Disney animated film Beauty and the Beast, but not in the traditional way. There have been many articles on BuzzFeed about what's wrong with the movie - unanswered questions, illogical plot holes and the like - so we decided to take on those questions ourselves. We even invoke Spider-Man and Sweeney Todd in our discussion. You can hear Episode 30 here, and find out what all the Beauty and the Beast hubbub is about.
Disney Princesses, the NJ DIS Meet Weekend, memories of Pleasure Island, special episodes on Pixar, the Pixar Theory, and even reviews of Muppets Most Wanted and Captain America The Winter Soldier.
You can find The Make Mine Magic Podcast on its own website here, on Facebook, and can also contact me or my co-host Jennifer Walker on Twitter.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
...Austria! "Rise Like a Phoenix" by Conchita Wurst!
For my full report on the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, check it out here at Biff Bam Pop!.
Friday, May 09, 2014
that less than satisfactory musical by Walter Hill from the early 1980s. Hopefully this will wipe that image from my mind.
When last we left Team Arrow, Brother Blood's Mirakuru army was on the rampage in Starling City. Diggle was about to get his ass handed to him by Isabel/Ravager, Arrow and Laurel were trapped underground, Thea was in danger, Quentin was in danger, and Felicity was taking a call... but I'm sure in danger as well. We pick up moments after we left off.
Manhunter. But that ain't gonna happen. Apparently there is a limit to heroes in Starling City, and it's not cool, not cool at all.
And then there's the return of John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn, coming to Thea's rescue in full Dark Archer regalia. He claims he heard about Moira's death and returned to make sure his daughter was all right. Canary is also back, seemingly for the same reasons, but no, it's more like she needed to confess to her sister.
Felicity's phone call panned out however. Vibe and Killer Frost, ahem, I mean Cisco and Caitlin over at S.T.A.R. Labs in Central City have come up with a cure for Mirakuru. It just has to be retrieved, unfortunately Slade knows all about it. The team is intercepted en route with Slade's forces closing in. The episode is actually very much like the end of the first season, with the city in ruins and the cast dispersed.
KGBeast, cementing his connection to the Russian mob.
And don't let the hero's kid sister kill the villain either. But we'll see how that works out next week as well. Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S. has blocked all roads and bridges out of Starling City in an effort to keep Slade's army from getting out. She'll level the city at dawn if the Arrow hasn't stopped them. That's the cliffhanger for the season finale, with a nice shout out to the JSA's Monument Point thrown in just for good measure. See you next week.
Thursday, May 08, 2014
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Thor rip-off like Almighty Thor by The Asylum, but no, seriously this 2009 made for TV film is something else. Granted, it aired on SyFy, which is where most Asylum flicks end up, and obviously the concept was meant to cash in on the Marvel films based on the comics character and the Norse myth, but this has a little more depth than a copycat rip-off.
Here Thor is a Viking leading an expedition to a legendary land where he and his followers are set upon by monstrous beasts. Thor also has visions of a past life where it seems he was the god Thor, and he fought Fenris and the Midgard Serpent, children of the trickster god, Loki. See, it's a different mindset, and ends up being more Sinbad than superhero. Low budget, but well done, I really kinda dug this.
Adventures of Thunderstorm The Return of Thor ~ This movie has quite possibly the longest scrolling text intro I have ever seen, boring me into submission even before the actual movie has begun. It doesn't get any better after that. This nearly zero budget flick is bad, and in this case, amateur hour lasts an hour and twenty-five minutes.
The acting is abysmal, the writing is worse, and the special effects are down there too. This is one of those that I watched so you won't have to. Avoid at all costs.
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
This time I think I got some of the subtext, intended or unintended, of Rio. This is a 1930s musical. It's got everything - stars, dance numbers, songs, romance, comedy, chase sequences, action, lots of subplots, and even a bit of action - it's the perfect 1930s musical. You can even see the casting, an all-star cast, fitting into a modern version of that style. The bits by Bruno Mars, Janelle Monae, and Kristen Chenoweth steal the show. On that subtext, I really loved this.
The kids will probably love it. If I ever get back to Angry Birds Rio, I might like it a bit more, but I probably won't see it again. I will buy the soundtrack though, I can't get enough Janelle Monae. And if you can't either, be warned, she gets about thirty seconds in this flick, as opposed to the soundtrack.
Monday, May 05, 2014
And on Saturday, the winners of the First and Second Finals will compete with last year's winning country, Denmark, and the original five countries. Here are those entries:
Denmark - "Cliché Love Song" by Basim
Spain - "Dancing in the Rain" by Ruth Lorenzo
Italy - "La Mia Citta" by Emma Marrone
Germany - "Is It Right" by Elaiza
France - "Moustache" by TWIN TWIN
United Kingdom - "Children of the Universe" by Molly
Friday, May 02, 2014
FREE COMIC BOOK DAY is Saturday, May 3, 2014! Free Comic Book Day is a single day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE* to anyone who comes into their stores. *Check with your local comic book shop for their participation and rules.
Click here for a list of this year's comics!
Come and join the largest celebration of Free Comic Book Day in South Jersey at both All Things Fun! locations (and at 4 area local libraries!)
It's not only a chance to get your hands on some great new free comics but each All Things Fun! location will be running a ONE DAY MEGA-SALE!
The first ten people on line at both stores will get a free graphic novel. Everything in both locations will be on sale! There will be kids costume contests, meet Batman, Spider-Man, and Zenescope artist Anthony Spay. West Berlin doors open at 11 AM and McGuire AFB doors open at 9 PM.
For more details on the event at ATF!, check out the Facebook page here. And if you're not in the South Jersey area, keep in mind that Free Comic Book Day is a worldwide event - find your local comic shop here or call 1-888-COMICBOOK.
Happy Free Comic Book Day!
Thursday, May 01, 2014
The feeling at the wake is pretty much as expected. Thea hates Oliver, is feeling guilty over her Mom's death, and in general tired of secrets. And really who can blame her? Felicity and Diggle are surprised by the appearance of Isabel who has ominous words for them, threats really. Isn't she supposed to be dead? I kept waiting for one of them to verbalized it but it never came. At least not right away.
Oliver is not the only one in the wind. Sara has also drifted off the radar, and of course being the target of a manhunt, Slade Wilson is similarly missing. He does call Blood to congratulate him on becoming mayor however.
Speaking of Blood, Laurel and her dad plant a bug in his office and find he wrote a condolence press release the day before Moira was killed. All well and good, but isn't a red flashing bug the wrong thing to use on a stealth mission? There are also blinking explosive charges later. Why does it have to blink? Are we that dumb we won't know it's working unless it blinks?
And of course, Team Arrow is going to need a second Arrowcave because Isabel is evicting Thea from Verdant, as the club is owned by Queen Consolidated. And as we know, Verdant is on top of the not-so-secret Arrowcave. This may be permanent as the producers have promised a few changes of venue for the third season.
As the episode closes, Blood's army is on the loose, and things look very dark for Team Arrow and Starling City. With only two episodes left in the season, next time we have Diggle vs. Ravager, the return of Malcolm Merlyn, Arrow and Laurel buried alive, Quentin and Thea under attack by Blood's Mirakuru minions, and Felicity gets a call from Vibe. All this and more, next week.